In our final regular episode, we are all about Christmas. And spending all your remaining moments between now and Christmas crafting your handmade decor. At least, that’s what the magazine seems to be saying. No more worries about free time or boredom! You won’t have a moment to spare. Whether you go mad for plaid, feel fine with pine, or you’re down with brown, we’ve got you covered. (Especially the brown…there’s a lot of it.) Rob gets his mind blown by the serendipitous inclusion of his childhood decor projects in the magazine. J. shares a tag for love on a Narnia-esque wardrobe despite what it suggests about parenting styles while Rob says “meh” to the decorate-the-playroom-for-Christmas concept (doesn’t everyone do that?). But we love Christmas decorating, we swear! Fitting for our last episode, Rob’s magazine is different than J’s! (Those pesky Z pages again.) Signature cocktails: mulled wine for Rob, spiked eggnog for J. Theme music by Bensound.com. Thanks to all of our listeners and supporters over the past few years! Keep decorating, keep reading, and of course keep drinking!
This month is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and it’s “How To Decorate Your Patio” time again! Despite the pandemic and protest marches, we are still here doing what we do: obsessing over a home shelter/food/crafting magazine as if it were the end-all, be-all of American experience. But we know we are not saving the world, and that this is all just design. If it makes you happy–and you are privileged enough to have a home to decorate, more power to you. Unlike the magazine, we are not changing our format, though we lament the replacement of the Throwback with the new Stylemaker back page. We taped this on what came to be known as Blackout Tuesday, and oh! the irony! of a paint can lid section devoted to WHITE paint! More white walls are only slightly offset by a rainbow-hued napkin and painted rock tableau. We puzzle over the plans for a kitchen makeover with both a peninsula and an island, and ponder the implications of building a big black box in your front yard. Happy Pride Month, everyone! Signature cocktails: strawberry mint lemon-orangeade cooler, and a “Lilac’s Lament,” a lilac-infused vodka drink with nectarines. Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Ramon.
In our May 2020 episode, we are still under a “Safer At Home” mandate in our home state of New York and so we recorded this episode via Zoom video conference once again. We each make our own signature cocktail: J. does a classic vodka gimlet, partially inspired by the lemon curd tart on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, while Rob pulls a recipe for ginger punch from the mag’s new Stylemaker column. May means Mother’s Day so we cover a few ideas for a special Sunday for ya mom, and Rob invents a new tag to discuss certain magazine features. Of course, depending on where you are in the country, you may have to stay socially distant from your mother. Especially if, like Rob’s mom, she mispronounces the word “peony” because you may be tired of correcting her. We notice a few changes at work in the magazine, including transitions from our usual tableaux and paint can lids, and need to mourn the loss of other features. But we’ll get over it. There are more important concerns in the world right now, right? Like “why does my husband want a door from our shower to the balcony?” (PS we have a theory about that one.) Music by Bensound.com. End credits by Tim Lawton. Stay healthy, dear listeners!
This month, Chef Tim prepares a Green Goddess white bean dip, a crispy fish open-faced sandwich (without the sandwich) and Pimm’s Pops. Rob’s signature cocktail is a strawberry basil smash. Check out our full episode on your podcast feed or right here.
It’s LGBTQ Pride Month and Rob and J. search desperately for some signs of gay life in this month’s magazine. Though there’s little to be found on the pages, there’s plenty of love at the bottom of their cocktail glasses (thanks to the strawberry basil smash cocktails, lifted from the recipe section). J. explains why this episode was delayed and shares a very painful housing-related memory. Rob gets tongue-tied over a supergay font but otherwise feels kinda “meh,” especially about all the #whiteonwhite neo-bohemian rooms. However, everything turns out all right in the end thanks to a Tea Dance #lewk for the ages.
Theme music by Bensound.com.
Our April 2019 recipe taste testing video is up on our YouTube channel! This month, Chef Tim made the stuffed spiral ham with help from Mamala Conlon. He also made the buttered sweet pea rice and a rhubarb tart. Rob’s signature cocktail for the month was also pulled from the magazine: the Ginger-Rhubarb Raspberry Punch. As written, the recipe is for a mocktail, but we added vodka of course.
Recipe prep: Tim Lawton with Patti Conlon. Music by Bensound.com. Special thanks to Michael Hall.
Listen to our entire April 2019 episode here or wherever you get your podcasts!
Shocker: She’s Got A Preference For Pink!
Kids these days… In our April 2019 episode, we become art critics, in that it’s the Art of Color issue and we’re highly critical. How many Tags For Hate can one episode handle? Apparently pink is here to stay (baloney is so on trend right now), beige is back (thank you Gen X), anything can be a neutral, and the most exciting thing about spring is cleaning your toilet. Oh, and the Could Be Better Department of Outdoor Living really needs you to turn in the paperwork attesting that you’ve decorated your deck or patio with an outdoor rug. We also share a few secrets: the recurring nightmare Rob had as a child, J’s middle name, and which featured room is really a sex den. Our takeaway lesson? Take time to smell the irises in the neighbor’s yard. Signature cocktail: Ginger-Rhubarb Raspberry Punch. Chef Tim’s Recipe Tastings: Spiral Ham With Orange and Garlic, Buttered Sweet Pea Rice, and Rhubarb Tart. Music by Bensound.com.
In our February recipe taste testing video, get the skinny on Rob’s Mid-Hudson Mule signature cocktail, and watch as we rate the Coconut Curry Short Ribs with bok choy and hand pies (the February issue’s cover stars). You should also know that J. hates bok choy and Rob hates pie.
But it all works out, because even if you have a tag for hate, love comes first.
Welcome to Season Two of Could Be Better! If a certain #1* magazine is still pumpin’ out issues, we’re still pumpin’ out episodes. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Rob brews up a red signature cocktail to get your blood racing: a Mid-Hudson Mule. They do pack a kick, because it takes us about three sips to start talking dirty about the February issue. Though lacy envelopes don’t do it for us, we do fall for a white-on-white room (don’t worry, it’s a guest space so it’s OK), a kitchen makeover, an I Did It feature (at last, hallelujah), and hand pies. Cupid’s arrow misses the mark on windowsill gardening, and one space may send Rob to therapy. Will your favorite looks get a tag for love, or a tag for hate? Listen in and find out! Signature cocktail: Mid-Hudson Mule. Recipe tastings coming soon to our YouTube channel: coconut curry short ribs and hand pies. Music by Bensound.com.
*If you discount two AARP publications, Better Homes & Gardens has the widest subscription base in America. So it’s actually #3 in the US but c’mon…AARP magazines?
In our September episode, we plant the seeds for fall with a new focus on decor. (Foodies, don’t worry: check out our YouTube channel for our monthly recipe tastings). Rob mixes up a signature cocktail inspired by this BH&G issue’s global flair (a Chocolate Spice martini) but J’s excited by this month’s Editor’s Letter: cue another dramatic reading!
In this Stylemaker issue, white walls reign supreme, purple is a neutral, citrine green and peacock blue are “it” shades, kitchens suffer from visual clutter, and there’s nary an “I Did It” nor a craft project in sight. Plus, we throw more shade in Waco’s general direction. Pour yourself a drink, open your magazine and join us for another intimate conversation about design trends (#tagforhate). After all, it’s just decorating. Signature cocktail: Chocolate Spice martini.
Recipes: Oat-Chia Bars, French Chocolate Mousse. All music: Bensound.com. End credits: Tim Lawton.